The Main Requirements for a Reliable Messenger
A modern person uses several instant messengers every day to exchange messages and even receive services. We pass a huge amount of confidential data through these instant messaging systems. To assess the security of user data in a particular messenger, it is important to identify the key criteria for security, privacy, and anonymity.
It ensures that only you and the recipient can decrypt and read the information. E2E is considered the main attribute of any messenger that positions itself as secure. An essential point is whether this app option is enabled by default.
The open-source instant messaging application enables comprehensive security auditing. Amateurs, enthusiasts, experts can build an application, examine its work and draw attention to weaknesses, vulnerabilities in both the server and client parts of the code.
On the other hand, free access to the code somewhat increases the risk that information about a discovered vulnerability can be used with malicious intent until it is closed or someone else from the community notices the weak point.
Lack of Data Collection and Metadata
The metadata that each of us generates through our actions on the web is similar to a digital fingerprint of an individual. Messengers also collect metadata that can describe our personality in great detail. This is all data besides the content of the message itself: for example, with whom from our contact list we talk, for how long, and how often (sender, recipient, time of sending, time of reading).
No Data Transfer to Third Parties
Third parties can be:
- special services;
- public order bodies;
- government structures.
Administrations of some messengers actively cooperate with third parties, while others fundamentally refuse to transfer personal data. When choosing a secure application, this must be taken into account, because confidential data can fall into the wrong hands, even if you are a law-abiding citizen.
Encrypting Backups in the Cloud
Not all messengers use encryption to store messages and files in the cloud. A successful attack on the cloud infrastructure by an attacker can leak confidential information. As in the case of data collection, information about whether the backup is encrypted is not publicly available for all messengers.
Minimum Required Information During Registration
When creating an account in a messenger, it is often required to indicate a mobile phone number, which is extremely closely related to our real personality. Data security may not be affected, but anonymity is greatly reduced. The more data required during registration, the lower the anonymity.
Two-Factor Authentication Support
This is a crucial additional safety feature. The second layer of protection based on 2FA can effectively stop an attacker. Some applications ask the user to activate 2FA through a notification.
How much more secure is one messenger than the other? Where is personal data most protected? What is the most anonymous messenger? You can get answers to these questions by taking note of the above criteria.